Alcohol-related brain damage at 10-year high1 min read

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MRI being monitored

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The number of people admitted to hospital in Scotland with alcohol-related brain damage has reached a 10-year high.

A total of 661 people required treatment for brain injury after alcohol misuse between 2016-17, the equivalent of nearly two people a day.

Alcohol-related brain damage can lead to problems with memory and learning.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had the most admissions at 230, followed by 99 in NHS Lothian.

The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question by the Scottish Conservative health spokesman Miles Briggs.

He said it was worrying that the statistics were continuing to rise despite efforts to combat alcohol misuse.

He said: “Scotland already has one of the worst records in Europe for alcohol consumption and, despite increased awareness, the problem only seems to be getting worse.”

He added: “The decision by SNP ministers to cut funding for alcohol and drug partnerships was wrong, and has clearly impacted on the delivery of services to support people addicted to alcohol.”

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Mr Briggs called for more emphasis on recovery programmes and pilot schemes for new treatments.

The Scottish government said it had invested £746m to tackle alcohol and drug abuse in the past 10 years and would be delivering an additional £20m a year to further improve services.

‘Alcohol services’

A spokesman added: “We’ve recently implemented Minimum Unit Pricing to tackle the cheap, high strength alcohol that causes so much damage to families and communities across the country.

“We also provide funding to NHS boards to treat local health needs, including people with alcohol-related brain injury.

“We expect alcohol services, mental health services and social services to work jointly in these cases to ensure those injured receive the help they need to recover and any underlying mental health issues are addressed.”

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